Live Review: Icebreaker Festival 2019 – Friday

A week ago today Icebreaker Festival returned for their fifth year to Albert Road and Elm Grove, a hot spot for live music in some of the best small and better known venues in Southsea, Portsmouth. Icebreaker festival prides itself on being the South’s largest upcoming/unsigned festival showcasing the best in new and exciting bands around. The festival ran across both Friday evening and all day Saturday this year with over 150 bands playing across two days.

On Friday evening there weren’t many bands that I was desperate to see so I made the most of checking out whatever was on which was an eclectic mix to say the least. But then that’s exactly what Icebreaker is good at, putting on such a wide range of music that it would be incredibly hard to get bored.

Truth be told, I listened to a lot of bands that were going to be playing on the Friday evening and didn’t find any (that I didn’t already know of) that sounded exciting to say the least. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I caught the tail end of These Septic Stars set in Wedgewood Rooms, not enough to really write about but despite what I’d already heard from the band, they were listenable. IGLOO were another band I was unfamiliar with but also impressed me to some extent. With various instrumental parts that could’ve been lifted straight from Interpol’s back catalogue, the band’s otherwise unique sound is mostly comprised of atmospheric alt-rock with both calmer and more hectic parts.

On the way down the road to The Fat Fox I popped in on The Loft (above The Kings pub) where Yeehaa Granma had packed out the venue with their lively country-folk. Not my thing at all but their performance was certainly fun and their unusual choices of instruments was certainly interesting.

Over the weekend The Fat Fox stage was curated by Strong Island who consistently put together some of the best gigs and stage lineups and The Fat Fox at Icebreaker 2019 was no different. Dad Hair were the first band that I saw at the venue that evening after being impressed after seeing them support Shopping at The Loft last December. Combining psych-rock with grunge and post-punk, the band put on a brash, even feisty live performance with some wit thrown in for good measure. I mean, I can’t imagine that there are many bands out there who’ve once had a song called “Steve’s Angry Vagina” (now under the milder name of ‘Friends’).

Anyone who has read the blog in the past will know that we love Mystic Peach and despite only having two tracks out at the moment, they’re one of the best local live bands of the moment. The band’s captivating but intense live performance combines influences from psychedelic rock to shoegaze and beyond. Fierce but also funky latest single ‘Across The Pond’ also went down a storm. Although finishing up their set early, that was probably my favourite time seeing Mystic Peach yet and a well deserved headline slot for the band. Definitely set for bigger venue headline slots though so watch this space!

The plan was that Mystic Peach were going to be my last band of the night but seeing as they forever finish their sets 15 minutes early (I guess it keeps you wanting more) I also managed to squeeze in Wedgewood Rooms headliners Seething Akira. A band I wasn’t familiar with but had heard plenty about and also a band who have just won “Best Band” at Portsmouth’s Guide Awards. The band played a mosh pit-enticing, lively set filled with their electronic metal bangers.

Friday evening was a fine start to Icebreaker Festival 2019 but that was only a taster of what was to come on the Saturday.

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